Instructors make move to train engineers of the future

05th Feb

Two colleagues who traded
expertise in a remarkable reversal of roles are urging others to make the move
from industry to instructing and train the engineers of the future.

As a workshop
supervisor at Daifuku Logan in Hull, Matt Shackleton relished the task of passing
on his skills to apprentices including Sean Edwards, who at the time was a
young learner from Humberside Engineering Training Association.

But Matt’s long-term
aim was to join the team at HETA, and when Sean got there first, he remembered
his former instructor and gave him the advice to help him make the move.

Matt is older by six
years, but it was Sean who took the training route first after his potential
was spotted by Sarah Smith, HETA’s former workshop manager in Hull, as he
completed his apprenticeship and a BSc in engineering management.

Sean said: “Sarah persuaded
me to become a mechanical instructor. It’s very different – a lot more about
managing people. You need management and communication skills and you need to
be able to understand the young people. Matt taught me well. He always had time
for people and he understood what we need to do.”

It was only a matter of time before Matt took the next step, and he found Sean a willing source of encouragement. Cathy Bourne, HR manager at HETA, is now looking for other engineers to shadow the teaching staff with a view to making the switch.

Cathy said: “We are
always looking for skilled engineers who want to become teachers and there is
no one better to advise them than the instructors we have here who have come
from industry.

“It’s not for everybody
but there are great opportunities at our sites in Hull, Scunthorpe and Stallingborough
for people who can develop the management and communication skills. It’s very
rewarding work and we offer attractive terms and conditions including generous
leave entitlement, pension and healthcare. The country needs more engineers and
it also needs more people to train them.”

Matt, a fabrication and
welding instructor, said: “I knew very early that this
was something I wanted to do. My own instructor was a big influence on me and I
found myself telling the learners the same stories. I wanted to be able to tell
learners what employers are looking for such as time-keeping, enthusiasm, other
employability skills.”

Lee Sutton, an electrical
instructor, joined the ranks at HETA after spending nine years on domestic,
commercial and industrial work with accompany in Hull and then four years on
fitting and maintenance at a shipyard.

He said: “It’s good to
see when people pick skills up, do things properly and put their training to
good practice. There are some very clever learners here and it’s surprising how
quick and intelligent they are. They can head off on a really good career path
from here.”

The new Hull training centre that HETA opened in August 2018 houses a working environment which is a big improvement on the previous workshops at Sutton Field industrial estate.

Matt said: “We have the
space and the facilities to fabricate a lot more things and create more
real-world scenarios. It’s very similar to being in a company and I would recommend
it to others in industry. The transition to education is a big one but there are
a lot of people who can help.

“Sean gave me some good
insight about what it’s like being an instructor at HETA and now we are both
passing on our knowledge to the learners. I am at a stage in my life where I can
still remember what it was like being 16, giving the learners they respect they
deserve. They make an adult decision to come here and we treat them as adults.”

Sean added: “Matt
adapted to the role of instructor straight away and he’s really good – he has a
lot of respect from the learners. He helped me a lot when I was at Daifuku Logan
and I advised him about making the move to become an instructor, but there’s
nothing I need to tell him about welding!”

BusinessWorks Hull & East Yorkshire Autumn 2021

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